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How to build a niche site

build a niche siteBuilding a niche site is not complicated as long as you set a plan, keep to a few simple rules and ‘know’ about the elements you’re going to work with.

If you know about the internet, websites and marketing, you’ll realise there are no secrets to building any site, however, if I had to name just two elements which will make any project work, it would be;  Motivation and Volume!

Motivation gets the job done and volume generates the income!

Everything is just a numbers game!!  There are many different ways of achieving the same end result and what I list below are the systems I use and what I personally do.

This is to build a simple niche site based on links to affiliate products.  It is still a simple and easy way of generating income.

Here’s the nuts and bolts process:

I spend a good week or so, maybe even longer, looking over the internet, reading online statistics and researching current trends using; Google keywords tool, Keyword Spy, Google Trends(Insights), Synonyms, Google analytics, Delicious, Twitter Search, MetaGlossary …and a few others to get a good idea of what is current, trendy or upcoming.  I use analytics to check stats on my existing sites that are very similar to any new niches chosen.

I download all the data and go through it all (usually in bed at night listening to 80’s Power ballads!), make a few choices and then forget about it all for a few days!

I then come back to it all and go through the same process again but just for the choices I’ve made at which point I should have decided on a market and a niche.

Some say you should pick a subject that you’re interested in but you can’t be interested in every current, trendy and ‘selling’ niche and sometimes there’s no room for ‘personal choice’.  You should go with whatever the current trends and research tools are suggesting regardless of whether you’re interested in it or not!

You wouldn’t come across a niche that was selling like hot cakes and ignore it because it wasn’t something you were interested in!  I have some sites based on niches that I detest!  It doesn’t matter as long as they generate income!

Then what?

Research done, I sit back and ‘deep think’ for a day or two…  I think about what I can do with this niche, how I can optimise it, initial ideas, types of income generation methods to use, website design (this is usually a ‘tried and tested’ layout I often use comprising 3 columns with top, side and bottom widgets), advertising methods… and so on.

I also try to think how I might be able to market this niche in a way that it’s not been marketed before.  I look at available domain names using a hosting companies domain name checkers such as 123reg.

Research is not just about a niche and keywords.  It includes anything and everything that might be related to the whole setup… including who’s already doing this niche? their statistics, existing competition, ads and styles of ads etc.

What’s next?

Products!

With a niche chosen, I see what affiliate products are available.  This is not always as easy as you might think, especially if you are marketing to a particular geographic area.  I’m ‘still’ struggling with one particular niche regarding decent, UK based affiliate products and it’s a great niche but so difficult to monetise due to the lack of suitable affiliate products.

Join as many affiliate programmes as you need in order to secure a good selection (and diversity) of relevant products.  I don’t mean having loads of different products but rather, multiple outlets selling the same product.  It’s a case of ‘all the eggs in the same basket’ … and never to be done!

If there is a good, diverse supply of suitable affiliate products to cover the niche, you’re in business and it’s time to start work!

What’s next?   … A Website!

At this point I usually head off to somewhere special for a week (or three)… to design and build the website.  (Villeneuve Loubet  is perfect for me).

What do I use for the platform?

WordPress …mainly!

Why?  It’s nice and easy, I can design my own theme and layout, there’s loads of help online for any problems, SEO is super easy, the ready-to-go plugins, widgets, subscription and login fields, visitor interaction capabilities, etc. …and so much more!

On smaller sites such as micro-niche sites, I still use WordPress but also use FrontPage or something similar to build a standard HTML page.  These load much quicker than WordPress!

I love this part and it’s something that has to be done right, although in reality, if you’ve got something that everyone wants, it doesn’t matter what your website looks like… as long as it’s tidy and simple to navigate!

Then what?

So… niche chosen, website built, marketing ideas in place, time to upload everything to the hosting server and start populating the site! The page or site should be 100% ready before you start optimising and marketing it.

This includes ‘all’ affiliate codes in place, adding analytics codes, linking any associated sites and accounts, spider/robot files, plugins, widgets and any other additional header/footer scripts etc.

What content do I put on the pages?

For simple affiliate based product sites, you need the products on the first page… It’s a must!  You also need product information and answer pages on the first page or at least accessible from the first page.

For example, if it’s some kind of gadget, info pages might include some history about the gadget, an explanation page of what it does, how to use it and maybe some hints, tips and tricks.  Anything to answer visitors questions, (which will be one of the optimising directions) and grab their attention.

All these pages are not necessary but the more answers you provide, the more visitors you’ll attract.

Niche websites need not be just about affiliate links!  Other content might include Premium (or free) downloads, answer pages and info documents (usually in PDF format), ebooks and reports etc.  …anything that provides an answer and includes some income generation element.

I don’t personally bother with much else other than the affiliate links.  You should try to reach the point where just about everything a visitor clicks on is potentially, an income generating link.

Affiliate links based on comparison charts seem to work the best for me.  For example, if you have a site about a gardening implement, list each similar product in the comparison and make each product image the affiliate link.

How do I get site content?

Simple; grab it off the internet, modify it and upload it to your site!  You can buy PLR articles (or get free ones), which must also be altered to prevent copyright issues and duplicate content penalties or you can outsource this element and pay someone to write a few articles for you.  There are plenty of cheap places to get this done, but bear in mind that the cheaper it is, the poorer the quality will be – usually!

I prefer PLR articles.  I have a massive database of them (over 100,000) which I have built up over the years and which cover over hundreds of niches. I search through these and rewrite four or five to upload along with suitable images (which are fully optimised using; alt text, title and description tags).

I am currently cataloguing all these and will soon be offering them as a premium download. I have not outsourced this as I want to make sure it’s done right but being so many, it’s taking quite a while.  I’m about half way through now and have already categorised over half a gig so far!

Social media is not a necessity but it makes it much easier to SEO and of course, provides other sales platforms.  I’ve carried out quite a few tests over the years and found that, generally speaking, people are not bothered whether a niche product site has a Facebook or Twitter page; they just want answers to their questions and to see the products… with a good price attached!

Then what?

Indexing and SEO!

Indexing, website tweaking, marketing, ads and banners, social media posts and anything else to boost the site!

Once everything is in place, it’s time to start optimising the site.  Nowadays, I outsource SEO because it’s mind-numbingly boring… and very time consuming if you’re going to do it properly, but I used to do it; every bit, although it used to be much easier.

However, if you’re doing it yourself, start with indexing (one full day) using short cuts by using sites such as Scrubtheweb and other similar ones (who will submit to multiple indexing sites) followed by an SEO plan which includes: Google+ and authoring, meta data, headings, titles and alt attributes, dashes or underscores, qualified links, correct website programming scripts, site maps, text navigation, spam policies, social media… and the list goes on!!

Since Google’s Panda and Penguin updates, you also need to consider link removals (if these apply).  Analyse your backlinks to find off-topic, poor anchor text and broken links, test pay-per-click ad copy as title/meta description and review navigation structure such as breadcrumbs and internal linking.

That lot is straight off the top of my head and there is much more which I’m not going to expand on in this post.  There are so many elements involved in good SEO and if you are serious about niche sites, I recommend outsourcing this element.  Let someone else take all the bother!

In practice, the cheap services available nowadays make it bad business sense to not use them when you work out the equivalent rate of pay you would expect for doing that same job for someone else.  The only requirement to this is to do the due diligence thing to find a reputable company and work closely with them.

If you are going to optimise everything yourself and are not 100% in all the different elements, the learning curve will be steep!

What not to include?

Other Ads:  Don’t put any other form of advertising on this type of site ‘unless’ the income generated from any potential click-through is equal or greater than the commission from the affiliate product sale.

Flash:  Also, even though there is much more support for flash nowadays it can still cause problems with some browsers so leave it off this kind of site.  Don’t even include it in a header, (especially if you’re using WordPress) as updates can often cause problems.  For example; when an updated script now looks in a different location for a flash script and locks you out the dashboard because it can’t find it.

Splash pages:  The same goes for Splash pages.  When someone is looking for quick answers, they don’t want hindering with pointless boxes which they have to close!

Junk:  Don’t add lots of fancy buttons, animated scripts or ‘flashing things’ on the page (unless they’re part of the niche subject).  These just put people off!

The trick is; KISS — Keep it simple stupid!  It looks boring but it’s not there to impress, it’s there to sell!

Is that everything?

More or less, but there is so much more involved within the workings of all the elements.  This is the nuts and bolts process I personally use to build a new site although it doesn’t stop there…

Within the first six months to a year, the site will need regular analysis, updating, tweaking, seeing which products are moving above others, analysing inbound visitors, ads and banners, SEO updates, newsletter and mailshot  follow-ups (if any) etc.

Research aside, it’s possible to set all this up in a matter of days and with motivation, just one week should allow for a site to be built, affiliate products to be found, everything uploaded to the server, optimisation started, initial tweaking completed and the site to be in a money making position – potentially!

I say ‘potentially’ because it all depends on how professionally the site has been designed and set-up and how successful the indexing SEO has been and if there have been any negative elements unwittingly included in the process.  All these elements have a big impact on ability of the site to generate an income.

On a more advanced level…

Assuming this set-up is just one of many previous others and there are tried and tested standards being adhered to, it’s possible to have this kind of site up and running in just one day.  (Research not included)

Tried and tested plans will include elements such as ready made base themes, automated processes, such as linking structures or indexing programmes, outsourcing, accepted templates for web page design and posts and pages etc.

Fact: Any website which is live online has the potential to generate an income.  How much income it generates depends on how the site was designed and set-up and how it was indexed, optimised and maintained!

Design any site in a professionally accepted manner, populate it ‘appropriately’ and incorporate an effective SEO plan and it will quickly rank in the SERP’s!  With correct monetisation and maintenance, income will follow!

Regards
Daniel

 

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